We Westerners always have to blame something external when things go wrong, “I’m not happy, so I’d better change this.” We’re always trying to change the world around us instead of recognizing that it’s our own attachment that we have to change.
— Lama Yeshe
Lama Thubten Yeshe was born in Tibet in 1935. At the age of six, he entered the great Sera Monastic University, Lhasa, where he studied until 1959, when the Chinese invasion of Tibet forced him into exile in India. Lama Yeshe continued to study and meditate in India until 1967, when, with his chief disciple, Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, he went to Nepal. Two years later he established Kopan Monastery, near Kathmandu, in order to teach Buddhism to Westerners.
In 1974, the Lamas began making annual teaching tours to the West, and as a result of these travels a worldwide network of Buddhist teaching and meditation centers—the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT)—began to develop.
In 1984, after an intense decade of imparting a wide variety of incredible teachings and establishing one FPMT activity after another, at the age of forty-nine, Lama Yeshe passed away. He was reborn as Ösel Hita Torres in Spain in 1985, recognized as the incarnation of Lama Yeshe by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1986, and, as the monk Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche, began studying for his geshe degree in 1992 at the reconstituted Sera Monastery in South India.
Contacting the Bodhgaya Within
by Lama Yeshe, originally published in Mandala magazine, April 2013
Once, a long time ago, a Tibetan lama wanted to go to India to see his guru there. One of his disciples said to him, “For what reason are you going to India? There is no reason to go. The inner guru is within your nervous system, and if you want to see the deities and create good karma, make offerings to the body mandala within your nervous system, to the dakas and dakinis in your nervous system.” The disciple said many things like that, and his guru could not answer.
We can also make the similar observation that our Western minds are often bored within one place, and we desire to go to another. “Oh, I’ve heard that the beaches in Greece are so nice. So are those in Bali and Hawaii.” People consider these good places to go to, but actually the good places of Greece, Bali and Hawaii are inside our nervous systems, which interprets these places as good. Similarly, we always look outside to see physically beautiful sense objects, although there is beauty also within us. Where outside is that quality we consider beautiful? Show me where outside that quality is. In Greece? Not possible. It’s not possible that you can find the Vajrayogini quality on Greek beaches… Continue Reading
Watch: Lama Yeshe on Checking in with our Relative Nature in Everyday Life
Book to Hang out With: The Bliss of Inner Fire: Heart Practice of the Six Yogas of Naropa
In the classic bestseller, Introduction to Tantra, Lama Yeshe offered a profound and wonderfully clear glimpse into the sophisticated practices of Tibetan Buddhist tantra. This present book, the last major teachings of this great lama, opens up the world of advanced practices for Highest Yoga Tantra initiates in much the same way his earlier work opened up the world of tantra in general.
Following Je Tsongkhapa’s (1357-1419 C.E.) text Having the Three Convictions, Lama Yeshe introduces the renowned Six Yogas of Naropa, focusing mainly on the first of these six, the practice of inner fire (tummo). Mastery of inner fire quickly brings the mind to its most refined and penetrating state–the experience of clear light, an extra-ordinarily powerful state of mind that is unequaled in its ability to directly realize ultimate reality.
Lama Yeshe felt that twentieth-century Westerners could easily grasp the often misunderstood ideas of this esoteric tradition: “We really need tantra these days because there is a tremendous explosion of delusion and distraction.and we need the atomic energy of inner fire to blast us out of our delusion.”
Lama Yeshe’s aim was for his students to actually taste the experience of inner fire rather than merely gain an intellectual understanding. Lama’s own realization of the transformative power of these practices comes through, inspiring his students to discover for themselves their own capacity for inexhaustible bliss.
Order the book via Amazon HERE and a portion of the proceeds will benefit LSRF.
Photo via Lama Yeshe Image Archive